First-Time Arranging Suggestions, Part Deux

As far as first-time arranging tips, I’d advise against taking the basses too low.  Even if they have a solid low E, the chords will ring better with the basses up the octave, and they’ll sing better, too!  The same goes for the low F and frequently the low G as well. If you’re stuck […]

First-Time Arranging Advice

A reader wrote in requesting some pointers on arranging for his high school a cappella group, and I thought I’d post a few here: advice for writing your FIRST arrangement.  These tips do not necessarily apply to ALL arrangements and are not general rules, but are good ways to make sure nothing goes too haywire […]

Arranging for Women’s Voices Stepwise

FAQ Style, everyone’s favorite! How do I get started? Figure out the key, time signature, and how many staves you want. Listen to the general structure of the song so you get a feel for the arc of the entire song, as well as the important themes. Jot that down, be you at a keyboard […]

Midnight Ramblers sing Army by Ben Folds

I’ve stumbled across a really excellent performance by a spirited a cappella group with an arrangement that really caught my eye.  Of all the others of this song I could find (save the Stereotypes), this is the only one that was particularly entertaining: If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player […]

Arranging for Small Groups 1: Introduction

If history is any indicator, a great many new aspiring arrangers are members of newer groups with fewer members than the large swaggering a cappella groups that resemble a small construction team on a government contract, only slower-moving.  In fact, I would wager there’s a reasonable chance that you personally are a member of one […]

Before You Arrange All-Female A Cappella

While arranging music for any a cappella group requires  musical sensibility–not necessarily training, but sensibility–arranging music for an all-female group requires particular dexterity. It is a socially challenging activity, especially at an 18% Greek liberal arts school when you’re asking hot, cool girls to sing nonsense syllables. More often than not, collegiate a cappella groups […]

Arranging for Women’s Voices: Range Compensation

A cappella arrangers for All-Female Groups: Here are a few tips and ideas to try on that might just make all the difference for your next arrangement.

Arranging for Women’s Voices: Range Limits

Men’s choirs and mixed choirs have something of a built-in advantage to women’s singing groups — a group of baritones with swallowed tones and an affinity for Barry White known as “basses.” They happily crank away at low notes down to an A or a G, and then start groaning like wounded wildebeest as they […]

SmarterGuide to Arranging in the works

SmarterMusic is growing in fits and starts, and the SmarterGuide to A Cappella Arranging is off to a particularly fitting start! Two consecutive music directors of the UNC Achordants (and chief arrangers) are currently collaborating in various backrooms of the halls of academia to bring you the most comprehensive and in-depth guide available on the […]